MetroPCS Communications is one of the nation’s leading providers of flat-rate, no-annual-contract, unlimited wireless communications service. MetroPCS operates more than 150 company-owned stores, and approximately 4,500 independent authorized dealer locations (“doors”). For MetroPCS, a lack of one-on-one contact with the thousands of employees hired directly by the dealer doors made it difficult to provide timely, relevant training. While the company operated an online university designed to give sales associates access to product, rate plan, and selling skills information, the learning management system (LMS) used to create and run the university was both unreliable and limited in its functionality. Even worse, the online university vendor’s customer service was woefully inadequate, and as the system lacked a way to identify end users, MetroPCS couldn’t reliably track which associates were accessing and completing training and how training was affecting sales.MetroPCS Communications is one of the nation’s leading providers of flat-rate, no-annual-contract, unlimited wireless communications service. MetroPCS operates more than 150 company-owned stores, and approximately 4,500 independent authorized dealer locations (“doors”). For MetroPCS, a lack of one-on-one contact with the thousands of employees hired directly by the dealer doors made it difficult to provide timely, relevant training. While the company operated an online university designed to give sales associates access to product, rate plan, and selling skills information, the learning management system (LMS) used to create and run the university was both unreliable and limited in its functionality. Even worse, the online university vendor’s customer service was woefully inadequate, and as the system lacked a way to identify end users, MetroPCS couldn’t reliably track which associates were accessing and completing training and how training was affecting sales.
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The Friedkin Group embraces a proactive and empowering approach to learning and career development
The Friedkin Group (TFG) is a privately-held consortium of diverse businesses and investments across the automotive, hospitality, and entertainment industries. And each is unified under a powerful shared mission: To provide best-in-class experiences that inspire joy and purpose. They implemented Cornerstone to support TFG’s automotive business, which provides financial and insurance services, marketing, auto transport, and vehicle parts distribution to more than 150 dealerships in the southern United States. A dynamic workforce requires a dynamic approach to learning TFG first came to Cornerstone because, as a company, it was growing fast and needed to put a best-in-class strategy in place around learning and development. They needed a plan that propelled the success and growth of their associates (employees) across the entire automotive organization. But as you can imagine, finding a solution dynamic enough to meet the varying needs of their diverse and ever-growing workforce was no easy task. Fortunately, the powerful combination of Cornerstone Learning and Cornerstone Content Anytime (CCA) subscriptions — cleverly branded as “Develop U” with its own collegiate-like logo — was precisely the solution they were looking for. Implementing Cornerstone was also an opportunity to move away from highly manual processes. For example, their training courses were predominantly instructor-led and tracked course completions via multiple spreadsheets. Consolidating all learning resources into one central (and trackable) place immediately made the entire process more efficient. The importance of learning without any limits When it comes to the company’s associates, a good chunk does not work in front of a computer throughout the day — such as drivers in TFG’s automotive transport business. So it was important for TFG that their learning, training, and compliance content was easily accessible on the go. “In the past, if a driver on the road had to complete a training, they had to stop at a terminal and sit down at a computer to take it,” explained Rob Denton, TFG’s learning & development manager. “Thanks to Cornerstone, we now just send them push notifications about assigned training, and they can complete it using the tablet in their trucks.” Similarly, in an effort to cater to diverse learning styles, TFG configured “Develop U” to give leaders within the organization the ability to create their own learning playlists and post relevant content for the associates in their business units to subscribe to. As a result, associates can now stay updated on the latest learning trends by opting into automatic notifications whenever new course content in those playlists becomes available. “Our workforce is constantly growing, and we’ve got the added benefit of low turnover,” mentioned Denton. “But retaining talent requires giving our associates non-stop opportunities to learn and grow. With Cornerstone Content Anytime, the content is never stale.” With a rotating library of 3,500+ online courses (including short, snackable content) and 30 instructor-led courses (which associates can take online), learning new skills is virtually endless for their associates. On-Demand learning comes to the rescue during times of crisis Little did TFG know that the 2017 events surrounding Hurricane Harvey — when their offices flooded — were just a dress rehearsal for what would soon come a few years later when the COVID-19 pandemic rocked the entire world. “This time around, our corporate offices were closed for nearly two years,” added Denton. “Thanks to our experience with Hurricane Harvey, we knew we could continue developing our associates and engage them with useful and supportive content regardless of their location. Cornerstone made this seamless for us.” TFG’s learning and development team's success metric at this time wasn’t simply course completions. “We knew this was a tough situation for everyone,” explained Denton. “So we leaned into promoting content around health, wellness, safety, mental well-being, remote work, and beyond to help our associates cope.” Part of this included leveraging the free Cornerstone Cares content, as it was filled with useful and timely resources around staying resilient and productive in a purely remote work environment. But that was just a starting point. TFG harnessed every opportunity to help its associates feel connected once again. So they hosted virtual happy hours and concerts — both huge successes — and sent out a weekly newsletter called “The Banner” to shine a spotlight on new content focused on the topics people really cared about at the time, like stress management and remote team communications. And you know what happened? Elective course completions kept on growing. “Our team got more calls and questions about online learning during the pandemic than we had in the prior five years of making this content available to them,” reiterated Denton. “It was like a grassroots movement around learning, one where our associates even started using playlists organically without being prompted to do so!” Today, TFG continues to operate in a hybrid work environment, with associates gradually transitioning back into 100% in-office work. CCA has played a central role in this office re-opening effort. “After two years of working from home, returning to the office has been a major transition for many,” offered Carla Blackwell, TFG’s learning consultant. “We’re leaning into our Cornerstone Content Anytime subscription to help associates learn how to harness the skills they acquired while working remotely and now apply it to their day-to-day office life.” A culture of non-stop learning, growth, and enrichment Since returning to the office (post-COVID-19), there’s been a significant uptick in elective courses taken by associates, especially around topics like decision making, critical thinking, strategic problem solving, and, funny enough, Excel mastery. “There’s a real desire among associates to constantly learn and grow,” said Denton. “A big part of this is because TFG’s leadership wants us to be a true learning organization — and they’ve made an important investment in it.” In fact, to make learning engaging and fun across the entire organization, TFG recently hosted the “Learning Olympics: Winter Games.” It was a smashing success. Associates were given learning challenges, earned points for completing courses, and got awarded badges for reaching certain milestones. And although the awards were modest — the top three winners in each business unit received $25 gift cards — the competitive spirit was fierce. The breadth and depth of CCA content made it possible for TFG to make learning fun within the organization. Preparing the next generation of leaders today “It’s no longer enough to just tell someone they need to know something and then have them learn it,” remarked Denton. “With Cornerstone, we can be strategic in helping our associates understand why they are being assigned new learning while also delivering it to them at the moment they need it most.” A great example of this is TFG’s leadership development program, which includes customized training for the following segments: Leadership Ascent (emerging leaders), Leadership Foundations (frontline leaders), and Leadership Summit (senior leaders). Each program consists of 40 hours of learning content covering different focus areas — with the end goal of boosting retention, mapping core competencies to company values, and supporting associates at all levels of the organization with long-term career pathing. “In the past, we based leadership development off of feeling; there was no science behind it,” explained Denton. “And in conjunction with Cornerstone Performance and succession solutions, we now have more of a data-driven and personalized way to connect development actions with leadership growth.” Streamlining the performance management process Businesses like TFG must always be prepared to navigate the next big challengeBefore implementing Cornerstone Performance, TFG conducted annual performance reviews via a very long Word doc that asked questions about alignment to six core competencies and seven company values before landing on a final rating. This process frustrated both managers and associates alike. And on top of that, there was no reporting functionality whatsoever. Fast forward to the present day. With this cumbersome “paper trail” now in the rear-view mirror, TFG has moved to a 100% online performance-management workflow comprised of three quarterly check-ins leading to a final performance review. And because this information is all captured online, anything related to an associate’s tenure at the company follows them wherever they go within the organization. This cohesion was never possible before Cornerstone. “Not only does this enable greater flexibility with goal setting throughout the year — especially when there are changes to high-level business strategy — but it also allows us to gain a more holistic view of performance across the organization to understand which business units indexed higher or lower on certain core competencies,” stated Denton. “Cornerstone gave us the tools to build rigor around the end-to-end performance management process, making it possible for us to detect blind spots, identify gaps in the leadership pipeline, assess potential flight risk, and calculate the impact of loss early.” A proactive strategy for succession planning One of the biggest perks of aligning performance management and succession planning under one roof with Cornerstone was its virtually limitless customizability. Cornerstone Performance and Cornerstone Learning are easy to configure by admins without requiring them to reach outside TFG for help. But of course, if any help is ever needed, Cornerstone’s team is on hand to provide training and support. More importantly, TFG now has a powerful way to understand what succession looks like at all organizational levels. “We’ve recently implemented ‘readiness levels’ to assess when certain associates will be ready to tackle the next step in their career journey,” described Denton. “Cornerstone provides us with a visual way to understand and also take action on the succession path for every associate within a given business unit. This is a true game-changer for us — we now have a roadmap for seamless growth.” This new clarity has made it possible for leaders within each business unit to have a greater line of sight into where their key talent is, how associates are progressing along their development plans, where there are critical resource gaps, and what they must do to retain existing talent. While this is only the first year TFG has officially brought all of these pieces together, they’ll be the first to tell you that it’s the start of many more great things to come.
The Sharing Economy: How the Hospitality Industry Can Continue to Thrive in the 21st Century
With the new sharing economy, technology has enabled a new independent workforce of individuals willing to rent, or provide services at a rapid pace. You can now pick up a cell phone at the drop of a hat and order a ride or book a weekend in someone else’s apartment, causing increased disruption to traditional hospitality or retailer models. While this has added convenience to the lives of many everyday people, it continues to push businesses to quickly adapt to consumer’s needs and preferences - or become obsolete. So what can hotels and resorts do to ensure they stay relevant in today’s economy, keep loyal customers, and attract new guests? Key strategies lie within robust talent management practices. Organizations must create an unforgettable guest experience by cultivating an engaged and enthusiastic workforce. By attracting, developing and retaining the best staff, hospitality organizations can ensure customers of all types have an exceptional experience they can count on. Ensure leisure travelers have an experience they would recommend Whether traveling on a long overdue family vacation or lounging by the pool– customer service is of the utmost importance to ensure a positive experience for all guests. In today’s sharing economy, one visit is no longer just one visit, as reviews can live online indefinitely. A customer is nearly 2x more likely to share their poor experience over a good one yet, a positive recommendation is most likely to get a consumer to try a new company, over a promotion, sale, or even brand reputation (Note1). Never has been "getting it right" more vital. To do so, organizations need a recruiting strategy that helps you find, evaluate and hire the right people that are willing to go the extra mile for your guests. Keep business travelers loyal with consistency and convenience The life of a road warrior can be stressful and unfamiliar. Providing business travelers with a consistent and comfortable experience allows them to focus on getting the job done. Hiring the right employees and training them to meet the needs of the business traveler is critical in capturing this repeat business. Regular onboarding practices, ongoing staff training, and structured employee performance measurement are instrumental talent management strategies which help promote consistency and maintain your brand’s expectation of quality across establishments and franchises. Drive financial success with operational efficiency Now, more than ever, efficiency has become the key word in the hotel industry. As revenues are impacted, employees are required to wear multiple hats and juggle more tasks than ever. Cross-training employees not only helps organizations to operate in a lean manner, but also aids in managing staff shortages or peak-season demand. Companies that utilize e-learning tools see up to 50% higher productivity andfor every $1 spent, an estimated $30 worth of productivity is received (Note 2). Clearly, investing in developing employees has huge ROI and is critical to driving operational excellence. Creating a memorable experience for the leisure traveler, a consistent experience for the business traveler, and focusing on operational efficiency are three pivotal ways to ensure your organization’s longstanding success. While a sharing economy has shaken up the hospitality industry, hiring the right people and effectively developing and engaging them, remain the key components to succeeding in the changing world. Visit us here for some additional ideas about how to cultivate exceptional customer experiences in today’s sharing economy. Sources: Note 1: http://about.americanexpress.com/news/docs/2014x/2014-global-customer-se... Note 2: https://elearningindustry.com/top-10-e-learning-statistics-for-2014-you-...
The Economy and Your Workforce: Why It Matters Now
The global economy will continue to experience its ups and downs, but most economists seem to agree that we have recovered from the recession of 2008-2010 and the U.S. economy, in particular, has made a strong comeback. From a labor perspective, unemployment is down, job openings are up, and consumer confidence has increased. That’s all good news, right? A closer look tells us that there are some interesting trends that are worth watching. Companies should be aware of how these economic factors are impacting the retention of their current workforce and the availability of new employees. As unemployment declines, survival rates also decline. Based on research by Cornerstone/Evolv, a 5% drop in unemployment translates into a 15-10% decline in new hire tenure in the first 6 months. These results indicate new hires are not sticking around as long in their jobs. A stronger economy means more opportunities in the job market, and correspondingly, there is a heightened confidence among workers to look at and consider those options. As consumer confidence increases, so does the number of people voluntarily leaving their jobs. Since 2010, there has been a 60% increase in the number of quits, versus layoffs and discharges, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics July 2015 report. As the economy improves, workers who have felt locked in during the recession will now consider making a career move. The unemployment rate remains higher than pre-2007 recession levels for the same level of job openings. A key driver for this gap could be a mis-match in skills of the workforce with the skills and knowledge required in the jobs that have been created. Slow U.S. labor productivity growth also may reflect the erosion of skills of available workers. Business leaders are concerned about the availability of key skills, and are looking for a broader set of skills today than in the past. (source: PWC Global CEO Survey, 2015) Why It Matters These economic trends are important for your organization to consider, as they could be a significant external force impacting your new hire tenure, overall employee retention, and the ability to identify and hire qualified workers in a timely manner. Forward thinking companies must address and mitigate these impacts by taking the following proactive steps: Utilizing predictive, behavioral assessments to ensure the best match between an applicant’s skills and behavioral ’fit’ for a job, in comparison to what’s required to be successful in the position . Adopting advanced and predictive analytics to better enable the company to anticipate trends and identify risk factors driving productivity and retention. Development of internal expertise to ensure the proper business application of talent analytics results. As is generally the case, there is never a ’silver bullet’ to addressing macro-economic impacts on your business. That said, Companies can absolutely bolster how they insulate themselves from the impacts of external influences on the workforce by adopting and applying predictive analytics in their people management processes. Doing so helps empower organizations to proactively identify, monitor, and act accordingly to internal and external triggers, and prescriptively adjust their talent strategies to the ebbs and flows of the global economic forces.